Saturday, March 13, 2010

Just for fun.

I recently came across an example of the conventional wisdom making people put blinders on to the evidence. It's a post called "Did Low-Fat Fail?"

I'll admit the logic seems good. But the data simply doesn't bear it out. This is the reason everyone should read Good Calories, Bad Calories (Taubes).

I'll just refute a few of the arguments and then proceed with my weekend, but I had to get this out there somewhere. Disclaimer of course that I'm not a doctor, not providing medical advice, not intending to treat or cure anyone or anything, go talk to a real MD, preferably one who knows anything about the continued failure of the diet-heart hypothesis to predict study results.

So, I'll let you read Brad's post on your own. Here's my comments:

First off, it should be noted that fat people actually tend to consume fewer calories than their normal-weight counterparts. This has been demonstrated repeatedly.

Secondly, the adipose tissue doesn't store excess calories. It stores fat. Would it make sense for your body to go into fat-storage mode when it's receiving a steady dietary supply, or when it's being denied that supply (and the plethora of fat-soluble nutrients that accompany it)? This logic may seem counterintuitive at first, but every well-documented study on the subject has always suggested (whether its authors recognized it in the summary or not) that appetite is driven by the fat cells. Specifically, a couple of hormones, primarily leptin and insulin. Without trying to get overly technical, I'll point out that insulin is produced in response to extra glucose in the blood, and that over-use leads to resistance, which probably causes all of the so-called diseases of civilization, including overweight. Excess glucose gets into your blood stream when you eat carbohydrates, not fat. Leptin is the master hormone, and regulates the secretion of other hormones. It's highly responsible for making you feel hungry, and it is primarily a fat-sensor. Meaning you feel full when you eat fat.

Back to my first point. The math of calories-in vs. calories out never matches the data. That's because your body isn't an internal combustion engine. Your body will make you feel energized, raise your body temperature, and take other steps to burn excess calories if it's fed a type it can feel free to use up. Your body will lower your energy levels and store fat if it's starved of the nutrients that accompany dietary fat. You will get fat and lose energy atthe same time because you deprive your body of natural, healthy, dietary fat. That bears repeating:

You will get fat and lose energy atthe same time because you deprive your body of natural, healthy, dietary fat.

Did low-fat fail? GCBC is basically a recounting of the history of the decades and centuries of science that Brad Pilon is either unaware of or outright denies that quite clearly demonstrate that low-fat (by definition high-carb) is a failure, for weight loss, diabetes and cancer prevention, and general well-being. Calorie-restriction fails. Low fat fails. Eating like your ancestors did, a diet with plenty of REAL fats (which part of the ear of corn does the oil even come from?!?), enough protein to allow your body to regenerate and repair cells, and little to no easily-digestible carbohydrates will not produce obesity. It may take time to cure it (google the term "broken metabolism"), but it basically cannot cause it.

Did low fat fail? Did Brad Pilon fail to do his research? I'm saying yes to both.

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